Earth Observation Handbook

Check out the 2005 Edition of the CEOS Earth Observation Handbook, prepared by the European Space Agency (ESA) at the following website

“It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), to present the 2005 Edition of the CEOS Earth Observation Handbook, prepared by the European Space Agency (ESA).
The report presents the main capabilities of satellite Earth observations, their applications, and a systematic overview of present and planned Earth observation satellite missions and their instruments. It also explores society’s increasing need for information on our planet. As humanity exceeds the planet??s capacity to sustain us, such information is playing a vital role in understanding, monitoring, managing and mitigating key Earth System processes. This is true on a global scale, in support of improved global environmental governance and the underlying conventions and treaties (such as the Kyoto Protocol), and on regional and national scales, as countries adapt competitively to shrinking reserves of natural resources and to the basic needs of expanding populations. Earth System information may be considered as the essential foundation for sustainable development policies aimed at ensuring our continued health and prosperity.
The nature of climate change issues presents special challenges in terms of the need for global information and data on key planetary indicators which can provide the information required for governments and policy makers to make well-informed decisions. Recognising that no single country can satisfy all of the observational requirements which are necessary for monitoring of the Earth System, governments are taking steps to harmonise and integrate their observing networks and satellite observing systems to be able to address common problems of global concern.
2005 marks a milestone in this co-operation process with the establishment of an international mechanism to manage the implementation of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) which represents a political commitment to move toward development of a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system?Æ. Such ambitions are inconceivable without the measurement capabilities offered by the Earth observation satellite programmes being planned by the world??s space agencies. The major aim of CEOS is to achieve international coordination in the planning of these programmes and to maximise utilisation of their data in order to effectively address the most critical requirements.
I hope that the CEOS Earth Observation Handbook will continue to serve as a valuable reference source for a variety of readers, including those with needs in Earth System research, and decision-makers in political and socio-economic sectors. I further hope that it can help improve optimisation of the overall observation strategy, which is central to our future success.”
Volker Liebig Director of Earth Observation Programmes European Space Agency

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